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From July 6, the price of The Times Saturday will increase from £3.50 to £4, while The Sunday Times will go up from £4 to £4.50.

However, in a letter to retailers from News UK, the publisher has confirmed that profit margins received by newsagents will not be increased until January 11, 2025, and then at a lower rate than they are currently.

The letter attempts to justify the move by saying: “Cover price changes on The Times and The Sunday Times do not immediately transfer to subscription prices. As a result, retail margins will be held at the current cash rates for a period of six months.”

The Fed’s National President Mo Razzaq said: “In real terms, retailers’ profit margins are actually being cut for the next six months. So, yet again, retailers are going to lose out while the publisher makes more money off the back of their hard work.

“Just a week ago, at our annual conference, News UK’s chief operating officer David Dinsmore spoke about the importance of independent retailers and protecting the written word. This latest move flies in the face of working collaboratively and is a significant disappointment.

“This deferring of margins has to stop. The Times does not enjoy the same subscriber levels of other newspapers, and it is unfair to treat counter sales and subscriber sales in the same way. Not using the data available is wrong.

“With no incentive available to encourage customers to move to the subscription model, the advice to our members is to be clear to their customers when challenged, advise them that the retailer is gaining nothing from these increases now and just 10p from next year and to get them to air their dissatisfaction to the Times directly.”

At the Fed’s annual conference on June 19, delegates voted unanimously in favour of a motion directing the organisation’s executive council to take publishers to task on the specific issue of deferring profit margins on cover price increases for six months.

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